Sunday the 10th of April 2011 was a very special day at St. Andrews. Not only was the weather perfect, not only was it ‘Confirmation Day’, it was the day we welcomed our new Bishop of Southampton the Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, accompanied by his wife Christine, to St Andrews for the very first time. Our new Bishop was with us to officiate at the confirmation of our latest confirmation candidates.
Confirmation day is always a very special day in the life of any Christian community, and a day the candidates never forget. It is an ancient Sacramental rite that originates from the laying on of hands by the Apostles St. Peter, St. John and St. Paul at the very start of the foundation of the Christian church. Traditionally it has always been closely associated with that other great ‘right of passage’ in the church the rite of baptism. Indeed we were reminded of that link when Bishop Jonathen liberally sprinkled the congregation with holy water as a reminder of that link. Normally ‘Confirmation’ occurs as soon after baptism as the person being confirmed is old enough to make the decision to commit to Christ for themselves, typically before becoming a teenager. More recently the trend has been for the more mature members of the church family, who having revived their spiritual lives, are ready to come forward and commit the rest of their lives to Christ, and to become confirmed.
I would like to take this opportunity of welcoming all the new candidates into the fuller life of the body of Christ in this place and also to thank both Bishop Jonathan and his charming wife for their part in making the day so special for all of us.